By Moses Matenga and Pride Gonde
A woman believed to have been a customary law wife of the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru, Simbiso Chisirimunhu, has died. She was 38.
Close relatives of Chisirimunhu, with whom Gen Mujuru is said to have had two children, yesterday confirmed the death saying she passed away in the United Kingdom on Tuesday evening. Chisirimunhu was said to have lived in Britain with her two children, Tawanda and Tsitsi Mujuru.
Chisirimunhu’s brother Christian Mahachi confirmed the death and said burial arrangements would be announced in due course.
“Yes, she died on Tuesday evening and as for now, we are still consulting as a family so that we can start work on burial arrangements and see whether we will bury her here in Zimbabwe or in the UK,” Mahachi said.
A close Mujuru family member confirmed that Simbiso once stayed at Gen Mujuru’s Queensdale home in Harare and that they had two children. A close relative of the woman said the late General had paid seven beasts as bride price when he customarily married Simbiso.
A prominent businessman in in Chikomba, only identified as Chinyaka, had acted as the middle man in the marriage proceedings, he said.
Another relative added: “(Gen) Mujuru used to travel to South Africa to see his children and wife when they were still learning there, but obviously he couldn’t go to the United Kingdom because of the sanctions.”
The Chisirimunhu family members said Mujuru’s wife succumbed to “mental health relapse as a result of stress.” The two (Gen Mujuru and Simbiso) had two children — a son Tawanda and daughter Tsitsi — who are studying in the UK. Mujuru married her 18 years ago in Chikomba, Sadza district.
Soon after the death of (Gen) Mujuru she started having mental health relapse which is stress-related,” a close relative told NewsDay at the Highfield family home where mourners are gathered.
Mujuru was one of the many Zanu PF bigwigs on the targeted sanctions list imposed by the United States and its Western allies and could therefore not travel to Europe.
Gen Mujuru’s elder brother, Joel, yesterday could neither confirm nor deny the relationship between his brother and Chisirimunhu, but expressed shock at the death, saying he knew the woman as they came from the same rural area.
“She was not his wife, but let me talk to you tomorrow (today). We come from the same village and that’s why I was shocked when you asked me about her,” Joel said. “They exaggerate these people, but we will talk to you tomorrow.”
Uzumba MP and Mujuru confidant Simbaneuta Mudarikwa referred questions to the late General’s brother, saying he only knew Vice-President Joice Mujuru as “his legitimate widow”. “You can call his brother, but all I know as a friend is that I was introduced to some of his children,” Mudarikwa said.
Investigations by NewsDay on Facebook showed that there were close links between the Chisirimunhu and Mujuru families and also that Tsitsi and Tawanda use the surname, Mujuru.
It is understood that Tsitsi and Tawanda failed to attend their father’s funeral last August and also his memorial service earlier this year due to undisclosed reasons. NewsDay